When he finally signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2012, Glover Teixeira was quite possibly the best fighter left outside the organization. Over the last five years, as the UFC had solidified its stranglehold on the world’s top talent in the post-Pride Fighting Championships, post-World Extreme Cagefighting, post-Strikeforce era, Teixeira had quietly kept on winning fights against very solid opposition, to the point that he entered the promotion on a 15-fight winning streak.
By the time he faced fellow light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 28 on Sept. 4, 2013, that streak stood at 19 straight wins, one of the longest and most impressive in major MMA history. While nothing had been made official in advance of the event, with a win over Bader, Teixeira was looking more and more like a future challenger for Jon Jones’ belt. The same was not equally true for Bader, who had already lost once to Jones decisively, which may be one reason why the fight was not advertised explicitly as a title eliminator.
The fight was a wild one. Bader seemed to have the momentum, as he rocked Teixeira early, then scored a clean knockdown. Bader pounced for the finish, attempted a guillotine and then teed off with punches as Teixeira escaped the choke. Seemingly out of nowhere, and with the fight looking as though it might be stopped in seconds, the Brazilian dropped him with a right hook-left hook combo. Teixeira was all over him and after a series of heavy punches on the ground, referee Herb Dean pulled him off the helpless Bader at 2:55 of the first round.
The win—his incredible 20th in a row—did indeed earn Teixeira a title shot, which he cashed in at UFC 172 the next April, losing a lopsided decision to Jones. However, Teixeira has remained at the very top of the division; seven years later, the 40-year-old is on a four-fight winning streak and on the cusp of challenging for the title again.